Tomorrow two provincial by-elections are taking place in Niagara and Thornhill.
Thornhill, the vacated seat of Peter Shurman, is expected to remain Tory blue despite criticism by the departing MPP of his former party. He recently described the Hudak Conservatives “where a plan without a vision is a nightmare.” For the record, the cantankerous Shurman believes none of the three major party leaders are fit to lead, including PC Leader Tim Hudak.
More media attention will likely be spent in Niagara where the Tories risk embarrassment should the polls be correct and the New Democrat’s Wayne Gates emerges as the victor. Shurman raised eyebrows among his own party by predicting an NDP win in this riding.
Since the poll showing Gates with a slight lead over former Tory MPP Bart Maves, the Tories have been slinging mud non-stop. It’s the opposite of most political campaign strategies – start negative and finish positive – likely indicative of how desperate the Tories have become.
Probably the worst thing the Tories could have done is send Monte McNaughton to Niagara. McNaughton is the PC’s labour critic who has a penchant for over-the-top hyperbole demonizing the labour movement.
For a party that was suddenly soft-pedaling their plan to end the Rand Formula fearful of the labour vote in the riding, sending McNaughton appears to be a miscalculation.